Bloomberg: "Riyadh cannot block Iran at the global level"
The business publication Forbes writes about how the Russian issue can affect the G7. The G7 summit, which starts on May 26th, includes a wide range of issues to be addressed: ‘Brexit’, Russia and Ukraine, the issues of Syria, Iran, North Korea and the transatlantic partnership. In his turn, the Prime Minister of Japan, Shinzo Abe, as the chairman of the G7, will likely use his position in order to discuss the return of Russia to the G7.
Ignoring the request of Obama to curb relations with the Kremlin, Abe spent much preparatory work in the EU for the recognition of Russia as part of the international community, and completed his diplomatic efforts with a visit to Sochi, where he met with the Russian president, Vladimir Putin. The result was the development of a so-called new approach to Russian-Japanese relations, aimed at increasing bilateral trade and investment for the reconstruction of the infrastructure of the Far East. In addition, Abe expressed optimistic expectations about achieving a breakthrough on the issue of the long-standing territorial dispute over the Kuril Islands.
However, the real purpose of the Japanese prime minister is to improve ties with Russia, in order to be able to resist the growth of China's regional influence. In addition, Japan needs a partner to maintain strategic autonomy and an independent foreign policy in the context of the US-Japan alliance. Abe supports the lifting of sanctions against Russia, and calls on its international partners to review their foreign policy toward the Kremlin.
Despite the best efforts of Abe, Washington continues to maintain a hard line against Russia. The sanctions, which expire at the end of June, will be extended once again for an indefinite period. Most likely, the attempt by Abe to persuade Washington and Europe to invite Russia to the G7/G8 summit would be a failure, as even Germany, suffering from the severance of economic relations with Russia, opposes such a proposal. Nevertheless, Moscow was able to enlist the support of Japan, which is extremely important in light of the global geopolitical changes. Such a move from the side of the Japanese government suggests that Russia plays a significant role in international relations, and the Asian countries, unlike the US and Europe, are aware of this.
The analytical publication Bloomberg writes about the plans of Saudi Arabia against Iran. Saudi Arabia failed to prevent the signing of an agreement on the Iranian nuclear program, and now the country's leaders have no choice, but to limit Iran's ability to use the advantages of the agreement. Four months passed after the sanctions against Iran had been lifted, but Iran still faces challenges in the way of involvement in the world economy. Saudi Arabia, Iran's main rival in the Middle East, tries to confront the growing superiority of Iran. Riyadh is doing everything to ensure that Europe is not investing in the Iranian infrastructure, resorting to a series of formal and informal mechanisms and obstacles. Oil still remains the main weapon of the Saudis. On the eve of the meeting in Doha last month, when the major oil producers were going to freeze the energy production, Riyadh’s leadership stated that the plan would be implemented only if Iran agreed to participate. Iran, in turn, needs to increase oil production to reach the pre-sanctions level and improve its economic situation.
Also last month Riyadh banned the Iranian airline company ‘Mahan’ from crossing Saudi airspace. In addition, Iranian ships transporting oil are not able to enter the waters of Saudi Arabia and Bahrain without special permission from the latter. The Saudi leaders aggravate the economic blockade by isolating Tehran politically among the states in the Middle East.
Despite all these attempts, Riyadh cannot block Iran at the global level. The fact is that both Europe and the US are interested in developing relations with Iran. In addition, Iran is already integrated into the economic system of the Persian Gulf, which sharply limits the influence of Saudi Arabia not only directly in Iran, but in the entire Middle East region as a whole.